Rethinking sustained healthy lifestyle change through design and evaluation of socio-technical wearable systems

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: College of Science


The "Rethinking sustained healthy lifestyle change through design and evaluation of socio-technical wearable systems" research project will examine how state-of-the-art digital technology design can evolve to prompt, support and sustain behaviour change. Specifically, the project will focus on the idea of an active lifestyle though the quantified self; How users interact with fitness technology, use technology to identify and better understand inactivity, and, building on foundational work on how persuasive computing can provide social influence, prompt behavioural changes. The main aims of this would be to generate insight into socio-technical assemblages that contribute to inactivity, and the critical aspects of ubiquitous technology design that could be used to try and combat resultant inactivity. The goal would be to research and test a system that would work to encourage a reduction in sedentary behaviour and an increase in activity with the intention of maintaining a more active lifestyle.

Broadly speaking, the research will aim to look at the way intelligent context aware insights could be used to provide an effective socio-technical platform to drive specific behavioural changes. Capturing information such as sensor data, through, for example, step trackers and accelerometers devices in addition to more broad context information such as calendar appointments and GPS locations, will allow hypotheses to be formulated with regards to both collecting and using this contextual data to find more effective methods of intervention. A design-research approach will be used to create a digital platform that combines this multi-modal data and adopts machine learning algorithms inside smart devices to deliver real-time feedback to prompt and support users in the goal of increasing self-motivation in the most effective way. This will be achieved through creating user-centric designs as to work directly with the socio-technological systems to make this intervention effective and sustainable.

The specific focus of this research is to identify and attempt to reduce inactivity and sedentary behaviour in everyday life. Adults should take part in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week, and children are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes a day; the average adult and child in the UK fails to meet both due, in no small part, to home technology which encourages sedentary behaviour and long periods of inactivity. With 17% of preventable deaths in Wales attributed to inactivity and a 59% increase in the risk of a pre- mature death if a person sits down more than 8 hours a day, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1949548 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 31/12/2021 Darren Paul Scott